Military Leave Handbook Statement: Massachusetts

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, and Judith A. Paulson, Littler

When to Include This Statement

Massachusetts employers should consider including this statement in their handbook to educate employees about the rights and obligations of military leave and to demonstrate compliance with Massachusetts's military leave law.

Customizable Handbook Statement

Military Leave

In addition to the military leave rights set forth in the National Handbook, members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth, including the state defense force, the state staff, or the armed forces of another state or territory who are employed within Massachusetts and ordered to active duty under state or federal law, are entitled to the rights, protections, privileges and immunities provided under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and described more fully in the Military Leave policy set forth in the National Handbook.

When military service, as described above, is in support of a critical homeland security or emergency management operation, as determined by the adjutant general, it will not be counted toward the cumulative 5-year period of absence allowed for military leave.

Guidance for Employers

  • This statement is intended to be used together with a federal Military Leave policy statement.
  • Employers are not required to provide paid leave for employees who are on a military leave of absence.
  • Under Massachusetts law, the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to members of the armed forces working in Massachusetts. Impacted service members include members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including the state defense force and the state staff, as well as the armed forces of another state or territory who are employed in Massachusetts and ordered to active duty pursuant to state or federal authority. These service members in Massachusetts are entitled to "all rights, protections, privileges and immunities" afforded under USERRA, which necessarily includes the right to a protected military leave of absence.
  • Massachusetts law also provides that any military service performed in support of a critical homeland security or emergency management operation should not be included in determining an employee's cumulative period of absence from a position of employment (i.e., the five years of cumulative absence allowed under USERRA and, by extension, under Massachusetts' military leave law).
  • Maintain documentation of any impending military leaves. If an employee gives oral notice of an impending military leave, an employer should document such notice and place it in the employee's file. Human Resources should inform all managers and supervisors that they must forward any written notice, and communicate any oral notice, of an employee's pending military leave to the Human Resources department or other appropriate company representative or department. Employers should remember, however, that under USERRA, written or oral notice of military leave is sufficient to meet the employee's obligation to inform the employer of the need for military leave.
  • Supervisors should be trained regarding how to respond to requests for military leave so that they do not take any adverse actions (e.g., termination, demotion) against employees who are eligible for leave and who request or take leave.

Additional Resources

Military Leave Handbook Statement: Federal